Pencils, crayons and notebook paper line store shelves. School buses pepper the highways. The smell of rectangle-shaped pizza, canned corn and chocolate milk wafts through the air. These signs can only mean one thing: School is back in session.
Whether the new school year is a time of dread or excitement for you, it also means that thousands of Christian educators and administrators are returning to their classrooms to influence children’s lives. They have an immense responsibility and privilege, and Christian educators need your prayers.
Please consider praying for the following:
1. Pray for Christian educators’ sanity.
Educators carry the world on their shoulders. A normal week often involves stress headaches, anxiety, sleepless nights, broken hearts, empty bank accounts and tear-stained cheeks. This description is particularly true for teachers who view their job as a calling, not just a means to a paycheck.
As one educator once told me, “This job is exhausting emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
Pray for Christian educators’ sanity. Pray they would remember their work is in vain if God is not in it (Psalm 127:1-2). Pray they would trust Christ and allow their hearts to rest. Ask God to help them discern which tasks deserve their time in the chaotic day-to-day. And perhaps seek ways to ease the burden for a teacher in the trenches of their mission field.
Educators can live gospel-changed lives in full view of their coworkers and students. That’s no small feat.
2. Pray for Christian educators’ prayer lives.
Many of my friends often speak about wanting prayer back in schools. But Christian educators would tell you it never left. Teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, front office staff, volunteers and resource officers — people whose hearts are burdened for students and their parents — pour out silent prayers every day.
So pray for educators’ prayer lives. Pray that school personnel would recognize opportunities to pray for their coworkers, administrators, students and families. You can even ask them for specific prayer requests and lift up these requests alongside them.
3. Pray for educators’ wisdom.
Educators live in a constant state of crisis. In any given day, they must deal with:
- A rude email from a disgruntled parent.
- A child who claims he was bullied on the school bus.
- Suspicions that a certain child might not return to a safe home.
- A new student who arrives the day before a big standardized test.
- The girl with special needs who requires unique accommodations.
- A boy bouncing off the walls because he forgot to take his medication.
- A girl who came to school sick because her parents can’t get off work.
In addition to managing each crisis, they also must do the actual teaching their job description requires them to do!
Pray that educators would be wise as they navigate each crisis. Pray that they would treat each situation with strength and grace. Ask God to give them godly co-workers to lean on — and godly friends and family to encourage them when they return home from the scholastic battlefield.
4. Pray for educators’ safety.
Far too often we open our social media feeds to learn about another horrifying school shooting. The pain and anguish we experience as we read the accounts is overwhelming. Educators now must endure these fears — in addition to everything else on their plate.
Pray for the safety of everyone at your local schools. In particular, pray for teachers to be safe as they take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of their students.
5. Pray for Christian educators’ character and boldness.
Educators can’t openly share the gospel in front of the class. But they can show love to children from broken homes, a love that flows from the heart of Christ.
Educators can give wisdom to a child who needs direction, a wisdom forged in hours of quiet study of God’s word. And they can model integrity to a student who has never seen it before, integrity developed over decades of faithfully following Christ.
Put simply, educators can live gospel-changed lives in full view of their coworkers and students. That’s no small feat.
So pray for educators’ character — that they would live Christ-like lives in a Christ-starved world. Pray for their boldness — that they would build relationships and find favor with their students’ families, co-workers and community leaders so they can share the gospel openly in other contexts.
A version of this article originally published on Aug. 3, 2016.